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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Player Agency and Cooperative Stories Make a D&D Game Belong to Everyone
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Player Agency and Cooperative Stories Make a D&D Game Belong to Everyone

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Its a very common phrase in the roleplaying circles that its “the Dungeon Master’s Game.” As with most aspects of this hobby, its not always so cut and dry. In your D&D game, you might find infusing some player agency through cooperative storytelling might get a you a new level of engagement from your players. This player agency can take many forms, to include working together with your players to collaboratively create the setting and world.

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Great roleplaying game experiences result when players the Game Masters work together to imagine worlds of adventure. [Art by Olie Baldador]

Making the most of your group’s D&D game

If your group feels stagnant or if you as a DM really just want to shake things up, sitting down and generating a roundtable discussion can do wonders. Many players become deeply invested after throwing their creative hat into the ring, especially once their character adventures in an area they helped create. You and your players can more easily develop intriguing characters that really fit into the setting if everyone at the table has a meta understanding of the world you all helped create. If you’re uneasy about having the players knowing that much about the world, or just already have a good idea about how the world your adventuring in works, you might use smaller infusions of player agency.

Having the party already at the front door of the adventure arch really speeds up the pace of those early session, but can leave players dissatisfied with not going through how they came together and got to this point. Give your players the ability to tell you exactly where they all met and how they got to this point. Especially if done prior to the first session through maybe a group chat, they will come to the table very excited to explore not only their characters, but the bonds they’ve created with one another and to the adventure.

In the video below, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted share their experiences with player agency and how it enriches the D&D game experience for everyone. What do you think? Have you used cooperative storytelling elements in your D&D games? Is player agency something that you use or are planning to use now? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jacob Kosman

Child of the Midwest, spending his adolescence dreaming of creating joy for gaming between sessions of cattle tending. He holds a fondness for the macabre, humorous and even a dash of grim dark. Aspiring designer spending most of his time writing and speculating on this beautiful hobby when he isn't separating planes.

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